Rise in Somali Piracy

While there was an overall decline in worldwide pirate activity, figures gathered by risk mitigation company AKE show a notable rise in incidents off the Horn of Africa.

March Sees Rise in Somali Piracy

More vessels were hijacked by Somali pirates in March than in any other month since late 2010.

While there was an overall decline in worldwide pirate activity, figures gathered by risk mitigation company AKE show a notable rise in incidents off the Horn of Africa.

Eight vessels including two large merchant ships were hijacked, the highest number in a single month since December 2010

According to AKE piracy analyst Rory Lamrock activity is also likely to remain high in April.

“Pirate syndicates will be emboldened by the latest hijackings, spurring them on to conduct more attacks over the coming weeks. Weather conditions are also forecast to be relatively calm in April, which will make it easier for pirates launch skiffs and gain access to the deck of a targeted vessel.”

Four of the vessels taken in March are now being used as ‘motherships’. These are not immediately released for a ransom, but instead are deployed to help pirates capture larger vessels. Captive crewmembers are often forced to work on motherships against their will.

“The fact that the pirates have seized so many new motherships suggests they may be preparing for a new wave of hijackings directed at larger commercial vessels. The shipping industry should exercise particular caution in places such as the Gulf of Aden and wider Arabian Sea for the time being.”

The current average settlement for a captured commercial vessel is around US$4.8 million.

Ships face an average detention period of around 180 days although this can range to well over 300 days for some of the less fortunate seamen who are held on board. At least 300 crewmembers are currently being held.

Elsewhere in the world, attacks dropped off West Africa, but a serious attempt launched from a mothership around 100 nautical miles from the coast highlighted the expanding offshore threat posed by maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea region.

AKE expects attacks to increase in frequency off the coasts of Nigeria and Benin over the coming months. Incidents could take place at distances greater than 120 nautical miles from the shore.

Fewer attacks were recorded in Asian waters in March, although the drop is likely to be caused by under reporting, rather than an actual reduction in pirate activity.

One attack was officially recorded in Latin America.

Contact: Rory Lamrock
Email: rory.lamrock@akegroup.com
Tel: 07734793923

About AKE:
Founded in 1991 by Andrew Kain, Andrew Kain Enterprises (AKE – www.akegroup.com) provides security, intelligence and risk management services to shipping, insurance, engineering and energy sectors, as well as supporting NGOs and media networks in hostile environments.

The latest monthly piracy report was produced by the AKE intelligence department (www.akegroup.com/intelligence), based in the Lloyd’s building in London. The department provides forecasting, security information and political risk analysis to a variety of global clients. If you would like to know more about the department and AKE’s intelligence products please send an email to intel@akegroup.com.

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